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Amazon battles the banks in early 2020 Singapore hiring drive

Banks in Singapore will be up against a formidable foe as they look to hire more artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) talent in Singapore: Amazon.

The tech giant is an AI/ML pioneer, using the technology in fields as diverse as robots in its warehouses to conversations within its Alexa app. In what’s become known as the flywheel approach, AI tools are typically first tested on the company’s own consumer site and are then repurposed as services for other businesses via AWS, Amazon’s cloud platform.

In Singapore, it’s the AWS unit that’s doing the hiring in AI/ML (for both technology and business roles) in early 2020, according to the Amazon careers site. While banks’ AI hiring is steadily increasing in Singapore – OCBC wants data scientists for its AI lab this year, for example – candidates typically prefer to work for pure-play tech companies like Amazon and Google, who have put AI at the core of their businesses, says a tech recruiter in Singapore.

Amazon’s current jobs in Singapore include an APAC business development head for AI, who will help drive overall AI market and technical strategy for AWS. In this job you’ll need to work closely with two very different groups of colleagues: the sales team selling AWS’s AI-powered products and the solutions architects creating them. If you want to build a high profile within Singapore’s AI scene, this role could fit the bill – you’ll need to “evangelize AWS services and technologies” through blogs, whitepapers and events.

AWS also needs a senior business development professional (with at least 15 years’ experience) to head up data analytics for its ‘AI and ML growth team’. You’ll be building customer adoption of the firm’s core AI/ML products, including Comprehend (a natural language processing service), Rekognition (image and video analysis software), and SageMaker (which focuses on image classification and object detection). You’ll also be hiring more people into this “cross-functional” team, which includes both BD and sales staff.

Amazon AI jobs on the engineering side in Singapore aren’t currently so senior as the above two positions, although the company does have a principal solutions architect opening for AI/ML. In an indication of how specialised AI jobs are at Amazon, this one focuses on developing services for public sector clients. You’ll need five years or more of experience designing, implementing or consulting within machine learning or deep learning, with knowledge of languages like Python or R, and frameworks such as Apache MXNet, TensorFlow, and Caffe2. A PhD in data science or machine learning would be advantageous to landing this role.

Banks’ technology teams in Singapore are also going after candidates who boast both AI work experience and advanced degrees. They should expect strong competition from Amazon this year.

Photo by Bryan Angelo on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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